- Editor's Rating
- Excellent image quality
- Nice build
- Build in flash
- Lacks a viewfinder
- AF is slow in low light
Quick TakeThe Nikon Coolpix A offers great image quality, but users have to sacrifice on a viewfinder.
The Nikon Coolpix A is Nikon’s latest premium compact fixed lens camera with a 16.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and 18.5mm f2.8 fixed focal length lens. The device is priced at $1,100 and offers the performance of a DSLR in the compact size of a point-and-shoot. The Coolpix A accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards. It is 4.4 x 2.6 x 1.6 inches and weighs 10.6 ounces, and DigitalCameraReview found the camera has a solid build quality and is easy to carry. DCR also noted using the camera straight out of the box “will be a breeze.”
The front of the camera features a function button; while the top of the camera holds a mode dial, on/off switch, shutter button/control wheel, hotshoe and pop-up flash. The back of the camera houses the flash release, exposure/lock, ISO/Fn2, image increase and image decrease, playback, menu, “I” and delete buttons as well as the round selector dial. There is also an AF, MF and Macro switch on the side of the camera. DCR did note that there is no direct movie button, but rather users must enter the camera’s menu to access movie mode. DCR also found the camera is uncomfortable to hold, offering only a small ridge to use as a finger rail. The Coolpix A features an extensive menu that includes a full spread of manual and automatic shooting modes.
The camera does not have an optical viewfinder, but rather offers users a 3-inch monitor with 921K dot composition with five levels of brightness. The display offers 100 percent coverage. DCR noted it was difficult to use the screen outdoors. DCR also noted the overall performance on the camera’s autofocus was slower than expected. The Coolpix A does not offer a vibration reduction system, however reviewers said the “quality of the images still appeared sharp and clear.” At full resolution the Coolpix A can shoot about four frames per second. DCR noted that in good lighting the camera’s AF acts quickly, but it struggles in low-lit environments. The camera records Full HD video at 30 or 25 fps and records audio sound. The Coolpix A also offers RAW image file recording.
DCR noted the camera’s pop-up flash does a good job. The battery is rated for 230 shots, which DCR notes is on the low end of camera’s in its class. When it comes to the lens, reviewers said the Coolpix A “truly shines.” DCR found the lens produces very sharp images in the center through most of the aperture range and said it lives up to all expectations. Reviewers also found the camera produces images with great color quality — not too saturated or too flat.
Overall, DCR found the Nikon Coolpix A is designed for users looking for the functionality of the DSLR and the portability of a point-and-shoot camera. DCR was impress with the camera’s overall image quality, build quality ad built-in flash but was disappointed in the hidden movie mode, sluggish AF and lack of a viewfinder. Reviewers noted all purpose shooters way want to consider a more flexible camera but also said as a niche camera, the Nikon Coolpix A “can truly deliver on image quality.”